Mattar Tofu

September 10, 2011 at 10:20 pm (B plus (3.5 stars, like a lot), Indian, Ron Pickarski, Spring recipes, Tofu, Winter recipes)

This recipe from Friendly Foods (by Brother Ron Pickarski) was originally titled “Paneer Tofu”, but it’s really a vegan version of Mattar Paneer (peas and paneer in a creamy tomato sauce), which uses tofu instead of paneer cheese.


  • 4 Tbs. corn oil
  • 1 cup diced onions
  • 2 Tbs. minced garlic
  • 4 tsp. minced ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 4 tsp. cilantro
  • 2 Tbs. garam masala
  • one 35-ounce can Italian peeled tomatoes
  • 1/2 pound firm silken tofu
  • 1 1/2 cups green peas
  1. Heat the oil in a saucepan.  Saute the onions, garlic, ginger, salt, turmeric, cayenne, coriander, cilantro, and garam masala for about 5 minutes.
  2. Drain the juice from the tomatoes into the sauteed vegetables.  Then crush the tomatoes by hand and add them to the vegetables.   Dice the tofu into
    1/2-inch cubes and add to the vegetables. Continue to cook for 10 to 15 minutes over low heat.  Then add the peas and cook another 4 minutes.  Serve hot over brown rice.  A coriander coconut chutney or other chutney is an excellent accompaniment.

Yields: 6 servings

Here’s his recipe for garam masala, cut down quite a bit.

  • 5/8 of a 3″ cinnamon stick
  • 1 Tbs. whole cumin seeds
  • 2 Tbs. whole cardamom pods
  • 1 Tbs. whole black peppercorns
  • 1 Tbs. whole cloves
  • 1/2 Tbs. coriander seeds
  1. Preheat the oven to 200 F. Place the ingredients on a  baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes, or until the spices give off an  aroma. (Some chefs suggest roasting each ingredient separately, since each  gives its characteristic aroma at a different time.)
  2. Separate the cardamom pods from the seeds. Discard the pods. Crush the  cinnamon. Combine the cinnamon, cardamom seeds, and other spices until the mixture is powdery. Store in a sealed jar.

My notes:

I used ghee instead of corn oil.  I made 1.5x the recipe, but I didn’t increase the oil, salt, or tomato amounts from the original recipe.  I didn’t have silken tofu so I used regular cotton firm tofu.

I was not expecting much from this recipe, but the sauce turned out really well–very Indian tasting (and rich).  The amount of ginger and garlic were just right, and the consistency of the tomato sauce was really good too.  (I wasn’t sure about the “break up the tomatoes with your hands” part.)  Derek liked the dish, but he said the tofu definitely tasted like tofu and not paneer.  It didn’t add any flavor but it added some visual and textural contrast.  Next time I want to try this with silken tofu and see if it holds together.

Rating:  B+

Derek: B+

1 Comment

  1. captious said,

    I forgot to say that I didn’t have enough garam masala. I probably only put in about 1 Tbs. altogether, not the 3 Tbs. that I would have used if I was multiplying the recipe properly. Derek thought it could have used more spice, especially the sweet spices like cinnamon.

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